The two things people are generally uncomfortable to talk about are sex and money. People are often uncomfortable to discuss about sex, despite that it is the foundation of life and human existence. Similarly, money is perceived as a delicate and emotional subject to be discussed with a lot of caution.
People are generally not comfortable discussing how much they earn or how much they are worth unless it puts them at some advantage. Even when you are comfortable discussing your finances, the natural instinct is for people to assume you are attempting to brag or rub it in their faces.
This often comes from the belief that when something has so much power to bring us joy and pain, we are better off not talking about it. Hopefully, the less we talk about it, the more we can pretend it doesn’t have as much influence.
The problem with this unwillingness to discuss money without emotional attachment is that it leaves many unanswered questions or wrongfully answered money questions. In this video, I’m going to share with you why and how being comfortable talking about money increases your chances of achieving financial success. Be sure to watch this video to the end because the last two points are the key takeaway. While at it, I invite you to subscribe to After School TV for more insightful videos like this.
Why to get comfortable talking about money
One thing I have learned is that people who are successful with money are comfortable talking about money. And, there is research supporting the notion that people who start early to talk about money are more likely to achieve financial success.
Such research has shown that the foundation for financial well-being in adulthood – such as good decision-making skills and attitudes about finances – is built during childhood and youth. For example, my experience attending a boarding school that was 9 hours drive away from home, at a time when there was no mobile phone, gave me compulsory lessons on financial management.
So what of those who didn’t have such forced encounters and experiences with money? Unfortunately for such people, society, education system, and culture do not teach or encourage you to develop financial capability. If you don’t take responsibility for developing your financial skills, knowledge, and capability, no one will do it for you. With that in mind, the simple reason why you should get comfortable talking about money is that that is the foundation of becoming financially capable.
What is financial capability?
Financial capability is simply the ability to make informed financial decisions and take actions that are in your best interest financially. Today, most people are living in a state of persistent financial insecurity with almost no savings to cover for emergencies or plan for the future. But by developing financial capability they can make better decisions and take the right actions to earn more, save more, build assets and create a prosperous future for themselves and their loved ones. So if you want to develop your financial capability, you have to start getting comfortable talking about money. Here are some steps to help you get started.
Retell your money story
Everyone has a money story. And underneath these stories are emotional baggage. For example, my story was that I watched my parents and family suffer lack and humiliation because of lack of money. I grew up to detest poverty and anything that encourages poverty. But at the same time, growing up in a conservative and modest family influenced my frugality and discipline with money, while cherishing financial freedom. So I wanted to have a lot of money without sacrificing my freedom, and without letting money define how I live my life. Of course, this is only a careful summary of the whole story.
The key to retelling your money story is to be honest with yourself and to get a better understanding of how you have framed your story. Your money story often defines the way you think, speak, and act towards money, and is often the framework for how you spend, invest, and approach money in general. So the first step is to retell your story.
Decouple your money baggage
The next step is to look for clues in the story to see if it gives you any indications of how it has manifested into your current relationship with your finances. Generally, people shy away from talking about money because they think it’s distasteful, bad manners, or will make others uncomfortable. This attitude about money often starts at a young age and tends to grow worse with age.
You may discover that you have been uncomfortable talking about money because you grew up around people who talked bad about people who had money. If you examine your story critically, you will find that your discomfort with money is simply emotional and irrational.
Then honestly answer this question; do your money beliefs serve you well today? Which of these beliefs serves you well and which ones limit you? You may discover that your discomfort with talking about money has led you to settle at a position in your career that is beneath your capability. You accept less than you should, on the pretense that you are not really interested in money. And because you don’t get what you should, you live stingily on the justification that you are already giving more than you get. This is not a noble way to live your life, and you know it. You have to break it down and face the truth about the lies you have been telling yourself.
Become genuinely interested
If you are fond of avoiding money-related conversations, money will also avoid you. It’s as simple as that. You can’t pretend to be concerned about money and still expect to attract money. If you don’t want money, then it’s okay to keep ignoring it. But if you want money, then you have to invite it over for launch. Embrace it. Learn about it. Talk about it. The more barriers you break down, the more financial success you can have.
Start reframing the way you think, speak, and act around money. If you ‘hate’ talking about it, force yourself to start. Start speaking clearly and calmly about money as you do about another thing you are interested in.
Develop a relationship with money
Imagine you treated your money like you treated your best friend. You are more likely to have a better relationship. It’s not late to start paying attention to your money relationship. Go on dates with your money; this would mean checking your bank statements, track your spending, and running your financial numbers consistently. Prioritize your money, and prioritize your financial well-being.
Finally, start telling everyone about your new friend; money. Ask people about their money journeys or how they manage their finances. Share your experience too. Let the world know that you and your money are on good terms.
Stop making money such a big deal
If you want to win the heart of a girl you find attractive, you don’t go looking like a needy halfwit who cannot live without her. Else, she will get irritated and you will lose her. She will be more attracted to the guy who shows interest in her but has a lot of other important interests. She wants to see that he is focused on building his own life. And that while he may be interested in her, he has other important values he holds dear.
It’s the same with money. As much as you want to develop your relationship and start talking about money comfortably, you don’t want to make it seem like your whole life revolves around money. Money is attracted to those who focus on creating value and building a meaningful life. Such people make money feel like you have what it takes to take care of it. So while you are getting comfortable talking about money, remember not to make money the god of your soul. Money is meant to serve you, not the other way round.
Until you start being comfortable to talk about money, your problem with money will continue to compound. You need to commit yourself to a more open and honest discussion about how you earn, spend, save and invest money. Only then can you take the necessary steps to become financially capable.